Summit Speaker Shares Brain Science

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Diana Gish/KMXT

About 60 people gathered in Kodiak this week for the Second Child Abuse Prevention Summit. The event was put on by KANA, the Kodiak Island Housing Authority, the Sun’aq Tribe of Kodiak, the Native Village of Afognak, Koniag Incorporated and the Alaska Office of Children’s Services.

One of the keynote speakers at the conference was Doctor Linda Chamberlain of Homer. Chamberlain is the founding director of the Alaska family violence prevention project. She’s an epidemiologist who specializes in childhood exposure to violence and brain development.

On Monday night Chamberlain gave a public talk on the affects of violence on childhood brain development. Through digital imagery and examples, Chamberlain explained how violence and stress causes a child’s brain to revert to "survival mode" which results in lower level brain function.

Chamberlain also explained that the emotional development of a child starts very early on.

(Brain Talk 1 "Never think that … in their environment.")

The affects of stress and violence on brain development are real and measurable. If not corrected, the impairments will stay with a child into adulthood. But Chamberlain went on to say that there’s other news from the world of brain science that should give all of us some hope:

(Brain Talk 2 "You do not … changing your brain.")

The Second Regional Child Abuse Prevention Summit ended this (yesterday) afternoon. The event was supported by the Kodiak Women’s Crisis and Resource Center, Servant Air and Best Western Kodiak Inn.

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